Patterns of Livestock Depredation and Large Carnivore Conservation Implications in the Indian Trans-Himalaya. Maheshwari A, Sathyakumar S. Journal of Arid Environments. 2020 Nov


Livestock is one of the major sources of livelihood for the agro-pastoral communities in central and south Asia. Livestock depredation by large carnivores is a wide-ranging issue that leads to economic losses and a deviance from co-existence. We investigated the grass root factors causing livestock depredation in Kargil, Ladakh and tested the findings of diet analysis in validating reported livestock depredation. Globally vulnerable snow leopard (Panthera uncia) and more common wolf (Canis lupus) were the two main wild predators. A total of 1113 heads of livestock were reportedly killed by wolf (43.6%) followed by unknown predators (31.4%) and snow leopard (21.5%) in the study site from 2009 to 2012, which comes to 2.8% annual livestock losses. Scat analysis also revealed a significant amount of livestock in the diet of snow leopard (47%) and wolf (51%). Poor livestock husbandry practices and traditional livestock corrals were found to be the major drivers contributing in the livestock depredation. Based on the research findings, we worked with the local communities to sensitize them about wildlife conservation and extended limited support for predator proof livestock corrals at a small scale. Eventually it helped in reducing conflict level and conserving the globally threatened carnivores. We conclude that a participatory approach has been successful to generate an example in reducing large carnivore-human conflict in the west Himalaya.